Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. We are so blessed with such beautiful weather in the Bay Area, while the rest of this nation suffers in snow storm. We certainly don’t deserve this blessing. It is purely the grace of God. Amen? Thank you for your prayer for my study. I past through the first reader (The Chair of my dissertation committee), and my dissertation is now in the hand of second reader. I will still have one more reader to do evaluation before my dissertation is finally done for graduation on April 30th at Portland campus. It was truly a miracle that I could finish my degree program in less than two years, which were packed with heavy workload and traveling schedule. When I look back to this one and a half year, it was purely God’s grace to me again. Praise the Lord!!
Let’s continue our reading on The Other Side of Silence…
It is important to realize that each type of person has to take his/her own avenue to find and explore his/her relationship with God. God is found in many different ways. The important thing for me as an individual is to find a way that will get me there, into that relationship, so that I can begin to grow. For teachers of the religious way the important thing is to learn how to encourage different ways of responding, to discover how they differ from their own, and how others can develop their own relationship. They also need to study the language and the expressions of others. Most of the devotional manuals were probably written by introverted intuitive (as they would usually be the only ones who would care about writing them) and so they must be translated to be understood by other types.
Whether we are directing our own lives or others’ it is wise to realize that our type structures can change as life changes within and around us. Thus, practices which may be very meaningful at one time will not be as important at another period of our lives. Real life is fluid and ever changing, and so are real people, particularly in their relationship with the center and core of reality. When we are “stuck in cement” and cannot change our meditational lives, they suffer just like our relationships with other human beings. Creative human beings keep changing and adjusting to the complexities and varieties of life, to new experiences and new people, and also to God.
Each of us becomes the artist as we allow ourselves to be open to the reality of the Other and give expression to that encounter either in words or paint or stone or in the fabric of our lives. Each of us who has come to know and relate to the Other and expresses this in any way is an artist in spite of himself/herself. The reason for the tragedy and futility of so much of modern life is that it has lost this dimension. The art which reflects only the barrenness of life shares in the meaninglessness and absurdity. In the deepest sense religion, in which the individual has not been touched by the center of which we speak, is cold and unfeeling. It does not know the fire and expression of art. Art, which has not touched the same center, either is bravado in the darkness, despair, or debases itself into entertainment. In the final analysis meditation is the art of living life in its fullest and deepest. Genuine religion and art are two names for the same in- credible meeting with reality and give expression to that experience in some manner. The experience of this reality demands expression. This is part of the experience. Those who have been badly hurt or disappointed or perhaps recover something of the reality by seeing the process of meditation and prayer as the final and sublime art form and the most creative way of living out a life.
It is only dangerous to view meditation as art when we do not take art seriously and so refuse to see that real art is working one’s salvation out with fear and trembling. When art is seen merely as one’s attempt to reach aesthetic perfection, then it loses its seriousness and becomes a plaything and not a reality. But this is only possible in a world which does not know the reality of the spiritual world and so sees art merely as a human product and not a revelation of more than human harmony and meaning.
Humankind stands as a bridge between two worlds. Our greatest moments are when we have met, nakedly and face to face, the reality that saves and transforms, and then express this as part of our assimilating the experience. Our records of such experiences give us a further step on the road. They also give others light to find the path they must follow. Everyone’s encounter and record brings more light and consciousness into this world and allows the forces of darkness to be beaten back.
Meditation is an art. It is not a formula we use to deepen our relationship with God. We may wish for a quick fix way to grow our lives by like swallowing a pill. I am sure many young parents wished their kids grow instantly, so that they don’t need to change diapers, enduring sleepless nights, worrying about their baby’s health problem, and so forth. Somehow God does not design human life to grow faster than other animal species. On a contrary, human baby grows slower than poppy. Moreover, God designs each baby to be unique and different. Parents need to grow their babies each in an unique manner, and that is a form of art. Relationship building is an art, no matter how scientific an approach we want it to be. Artistic expression is shaped by a lot of different factors like personality and culture. God is our ultimate reality. He remains unchanged to all cultures and personalities. But our experiences of Him may vary from one to another. The bottom line is we all want to grow in this relationship with God. And when we share our intimate experiences with God in fellowship with one another, we grow as one Body in Christ.
In the bond of His love with you,